Donna Quesada: Exactly. And so, this brings me to another question that we like to ask here to those we interview. Is there an imbalance globally, of feminine versus masculine energies and what is the right approach to making the balance more harmonious?
Guru Meher Khalsa: Absolutely there’s an imbalance. Example is, grief and sadness…one of the emotions of the seven that I work with…almost 100% of people will apologize if they start crying in the presence of someone else. Almost 100%.
DONNA: Men and women?
GURU MEHER: Men and women. If it’s in public. Because crying is seen as a weakness. Emotions are seen as a weakness. But what is…when there is sadness present, there is love present. Nobody’s crying if they don’t care a thing about somebody. So, that’s an example of a very feminine, and I don’t mean female…I mean it in the archetype of Yin and Yang…you can divide the world, half into Yin and half intoYang. Even when we use the word “feminine”…“masculine”…it already gets… it already confuses us. But, I’ll continue to use them. So, only the masculine forms of energy and power are really considered respectable by men and women. You gotta work hard, you gotta go do it.How valued are some feminine traits, like love, patience…? I’m not saying that love is only feminine, but let’s say receptivity…patience…
GURU MEHER: …nurturing, allowing. This stuff seems like kindergarten stuff if you really wanna be out there in the world being productive. So, we just don’t even have an honorable sense of all the feminine things. So yes, we are out of balance. And lack of sensitivity! So, if a masculine thing is projectivity, Lemme go DO IT! But a feminine thing is, Lemme just see what’s going on, here…let me take it in. Is the world being run that way? No. Is the world being nurturing? No, it’s being conquering and business and everything. Is it running like, Hey, let’s nurture? So, men and women alike…I see this happening now…is why I have great hope for this crazy world.
Men and women alike are trying to re-embrace the feminine. Imagine when a man re-embraces more feminine. That’s what most women that I talk to…is what they’re hoping for. Give me a productive, but sensitive man…give me a caring man…But women, too, are to break down the walls and get into the boys club. The only way men have allowed that is, well, you better be pretty masculine if you’re gonna, you know…Look at Hillary when she ran years ago, the first time. When she was tough, she was too angry.
DONNA: She was not well received, yeah.
GURU MEHER: When she was soft, she was too weak. And at the same time, you could see clips of men being tough…and “they’re tough.”Men being soft, and “aww, they’re nice.”So, men… power…Power never gives up power willingly. So, women have had to get tough to even fight for their rights, and they should. Every woman should have equal access to their masculine power and to their feminine power. And men…If men can have equal access to the masculine power and their feminine power, they get to be hard-working and nice. So yes, I am in hopes that in this Aquarian age, in this day, then we are coming back to a balance.
How can people do that? Look at a graph, look at a list of what is classically called masculine and feminine energies. Because you can really divide everything in the world down the middle and you can say, “this is either more Yin or more Yang.”And I do this in workshops. “Which are you?”Man or woman… “Which one are you depending on more? Which one are you leaning on more? Which are you not using much? ”Most men are leaning more on the masculine. Most women these days are really caught in between. Because they know they’ve got to use the masculine to be able to get their rights back and be respected. And most of the women I work with, were really working with returning of their power and empowerment. But then not to lose that…Once one has access their power in a masculine sense, then they can relax, and feel safe, and begin to afford to… In this big world, to allow their more feminine softness in and nurturing. When you’re scared and you’re in survival, man or woman alike, you’re just hard. So, I see that work happening and it’s very encouraging to me. I think the biggest mission on the planet right now, is for women to find their power, and then use it to create enough equity, and fairness, and justice, so they can, if they’ve got a lot feminine energy, they can relax and be nurturing.
DONNA: Yes, and it reminds me of…I’d like to bring up the “e”word, the ego. In so many spiritual traditions, there’s this caveat against the ego, don’t be egoic, conquer the ego, and the ego is bad. But, is there a proper use of the ego? And working in a political front to try to restore balance…it’s almost like you need a little bit of that strength to work in the world.
GURU MEHER: Absolutely, and that whole ego thing…I understand completely what it means and it’s valid. But it’s used for spiritual by-passing. It’s misunderstood and used for…well I don’t wanna have an ego, so I let people run all over me. Or, I shouldn’t speak up. I should be nice. Or something like that. Yeah, yeah.
DONNA: And I feel like women have gotten that quite a bit. That idea that speaking up is still again, a carryover from the 50’s mentality, I think.
GURU MEHER: Oh, absolutely. So anger is just a form of power. The message women get is definitely…be sweet, be nice, be cute, be sexy, but, don’t be a bitch, right? Don’t be mad, don’t be angry.
DONNA: Or, too strong.
GURU MEHER: Yeah, that’s right! So, if I’ve got power and I want power and I want power over you, all I have to do is say, be nice, don’t have power, don’t be angry. And if you buy that, and then you’re like, ok great,I get to be angry and you don’t, so guess what? I can control you. So again, the skill…every one of these emotions have a misuse, and there’s a skill to use every one of them correctly. And with anger, it’s definitely how to deliver the energy of anger in a way that gets the results that you actually want. Which is, you’re taken care of without harming somebody else. So, I am not giving a free license for everybody to go out and be angry. You still have to deal with the consequences of your actions; that’s just karma. That’s just cause and effect. But if somebody convinces you not to have any power, you’re going to be abused. It might feel better to be the abuser, but pretty much, we live life as a comparative study. How does it feel to have no power? Not good. How does it feel to have a lot of power? Great! And I can hurt somebody, if I want to. So, the scale of getting right in the middle, learning to use…
DONNA: Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. I was going to say…so, it seems like that is the crux of our job, or the work that we do on our spiritual path, is getting that balance right.
GURU MEHER: That’s it, that’s it…the middle way, right? The middle way. Not repressing anger, not just dumping it out, but using it like, the Dalai Lama gets angry, but he recovers. He doesn’t go kill people with his anger, nor does he silence himself, and say, “Oh well. I guess we are going to lose our way of life.” He just keeps going, and teaching. He’s one of the most respected people on the planet, you know, so…He doesn’t have his country back, but he’s not sacrificed his values. That’s power too, you know?
DONNA: Do we need a teacher? For this practice, this work of getting that balance right?
GURU MEHER: Oh, absolutely, we need teachers. There’s always…Well, there’s two answers to that. There’s always somebody older than us and by analogy, there’s somebody more aware than us. We started talking about…awareness opens gradually,so…
DONNA: Don’t close the circle…
GURU MEHER: If you didn’t have your parents to say, like, “No this is how to put food in your mouth,” you know…“This is how to go to the bathroom.” So, that teacher saves you a lot of trouble. We say, “you can learn by trial and error, and by time and space, or you can learn from a teacher.”So, on the one hand, yes, we need a teacher…and part of this…but, the institution of teacher has also been misused over time. You know,we’re seeing all over in the Aquarian age, nothing can be hidden. So, what we’re seeing is, things that used to be secret, things that went on in monasteries and in churches and things, and it’s happening in every…it’s happening to the Buddhists, it’s happening in India. Where men, mostly men, had power and misused it and abused people. It’s all…You can’t hide it anymore. Right? So, we all need a teacher, but a teacher is a human teacher that is fallible. The pope is going through an interesting thing right now; he’s the first guy making apologies… he’s the first guy. Now that we’re admitting…no one is going to say this, but… the pope was held to not be fallible, but that’s too much for one person and one institution to have. So, everybody needs a teacher, but in the coming age, we find it within ourselves. We find that we know everything, once our awareness opens up.
DONNA: So, the teacher guides us to discovering our own awareness, which always was there…
GURU MEHER: Exactly. In fact, Yogi Bhajan said, “the future of therapy is self therapy.” So, I’m a yoga therapist…therapists won’t be out of a job. All the people that help, and do all that, won’t be out of a job. But, our job is changing. From…if there ever was an idea that you come to me and you don’t know anything…I know everything, so I can fix you. The job is changing to, well I know a few things, so let me show you how to fix yourself. Let me show you how to find the teacher within. That’s really what Kundalini Yoga teachers are taught, you know. You’re delivering some teachings, but you’re not the man, or the woman…you’re delivering it. And then, once they get it, they’ve got it.
DONNA: They’re on their own.
GURU MEHER: Yeah. And that’s what I find…the joy of showing people, like that story I told earlier. Woman says, “I never feel…I don’t want to feel…don’t make me feel…I don’t like to feel.” And then, in half an hour, she’s like, “Oh, I see…I’m sad…I cried…I solved my problem…how did you do that?” I just helped you feel safe…to feel what you’re feeling, and it helped you understand what the feeling was trying to do. And so, by that point, you’re willing to work with the feeling directly and you get the combination of intelligence and intuition through your emotions.
DONNA: Your own space for that self inquiry process?
GURU MEHER: Yeah. The teacher’s within and I can help you find it.
DONNA: Well, Guru Meher, in the last few minutes that we have together, is there anything else you’d like to share with our viewers, here at Awaken?
GURU MEHER: Well, I did want to come back to your point about attachment, and I appreciate you bringing in words that are bandied about…You know, we have spiritual…what do you call it, trends…and popularity. And so,“gratitude”made its rounds, and everybody…
DONNA: So true!
GURU MEHER: Gratitude is a great thing! It should be common knowledge. Everybody should be doing it. And so, that’s great. This is how esoteric stuff starts mainstreaming. And in my work, trauma is mainstreaming. Ability to heal our…talk about trauma, deal with trauma, heal trauma… is going to be, in 10 to 30 years, a common thing, like, people know how to do it. Like, going on a diet. Maybe everybody doesn’t do it and everybody doesn’t do it on the right diet, but they know how to do it. Like, that’s going to happen in our lifetime, okay? Ah, where was I…?
GURU MEHER: You know, people…so, things are misunderstood. Forgiveness has been going around. Somebody, the other day, I did a workshop and they said, “Well, where’s forgiveness on this? You didn’t mention forgiveness, and we know that’s the most important thing to do!”And I’m like, “okay, I understand it’s in vogue, and I’m glad it is because everybody needs to learn it, but it’s more complicated than just, everybody should do it.” In fact, some people forgive before they’re ready to forgive. If somebody is in an abusive situation and they’re being a good person and forgive…your first job is to stop the abuse.
So, it’s both wonderful that spirituality is mainstreaming, but it is also…sometimes it can be…a little knowledge is dangerous. But, it’s all good. We’re all evolving. We’re all learning. So, attachment…the answer to attachment is neutral mind. I think, all of the special things are correct and they’re misused. They’re all correct, and they’re all misused. And by me, too. So, it’s not that I am separating myself from that. But, the first wave of popularity helps…but, it is not always the deeper thing. So, attachment is a healthy thing. In fact, they say, kids…a child doesn’t really mature unless it can develop healthy attachments. Ego is a wonderful thing. It is the only thing that has you surviving. It is the only thing that makes you care whether you live or die. But the thing about ego is…we need ego. We need ego. We need ego. It’s gotta build. It builds, and then, it’s a glass ceiling. And it limits us to a much greater level of who we can be. Same thing with attachment. We need attachment. We need attachment…at the right time.
DONNA: So the neutral mind brings us into proper relationship with it?
GURU MEHER: Yeah, yeah. So, I guess I’m talking about spirituality, when it’s not a thing you do on Sunday or it’s not a fad, but it’s a way of life. That’s why we use the word dharma. That’s why…I mean I am a Sikh and that’s why people say, “Oh, okay, you’re part of the Sikh religion.”And my teacher said, “religion is becoming obsolete the way it was practiced.” But a dharma, a way of life, when you know that this is not some…that for 40 years, or whenever you start, for the rest of your life, you’re living a lifestyle where you are trying to awaken.
GURU MEHER: And you can’t always command that awakening. You live…you follow certain guidelines and things, and you awaken in its own time. You can’t force awakening. And therefore, it becomes a way of life that is an organic process which is no different from human development. But you know, it takes it…it takes it… it upgrades human development to a higher level, which I feel like religion is properly in its demise, because it’s devolved, or it’s been harmful. It’s dogmatic, or whatever. But, I feel that we’re in a crisis in this country because at least we had a way to teach people values and what’s right and wrong. And even if that system was misused or whatever, there’s no replacement now, other than the popular culture. Buy stuff, be pretty, be sexy, be popular, get social media likes. So Yoga, which is not an overt… it is a way of life…it is not a religion. But, it teaches values, it teaches forgiveness…where else are you gonna learn it? Forgiveness, gratitude, kindness, and compassion? The popular Yoga…a lot of us are looking towards it to fill a void where people go from, “Don’t tell me what to do with religion…that’s stupid, and sex is bad” and whatever, was mis-told there…to like, “Well, I can do whatever I want, and it’s all gonna be fine.”No, there’s cause-and-effect, and so a teacher can again —or your own intuition —the teacher within can say, “You know, I feel like doing that, but I can see in my intuition that if I do that it’s not gonna go well.”And so,I don’t do it. So, replacing rules and guidelines…rules… with consciousness, with awareness.
DONNA: And with that it is seems like things like gratitude and forgiveness are by-products of that neutral space.
GURU MEHER: They just come together.
DONNA: It just comes naturally. You don’t need to impose it, like a rule, “Okay, forgive now!”
GURU MEHER: You really tied it together for me! I appreciate that! Yeah, an organic process; when you know you want to go and become more awakened. I think that, the whole…you know, the first step of the 12 step program —which is one of the most effective self healing tools ever discovered by humans —is…the first step is, “You know what…I don’t know everything. I can’t handle this on my own…I need some help.” And so, if we look to our own consciousness for that, we say, “Well I like me pretty good, but there’s some growth I could use.”Then, we keep growing. I think that’s what dharma is. We know there’s more out there and we keep moving in that direction. We keep awakening.
DONNA: I love that parallel.
GURU MEHER: Yeah, cool. Wow, this has been fun!
DONNA: Fun for me, too! And I think that’s a good place to leave it, even though I can talk about this stuff for hours. I wanna thank you again for your time, Guru Meher.
GURU MEHER: My pleasure. And I can I just tell people where to find me, if they like?
DONNA: Please do. Please do!
GURU MEHER: SensesoftheSoul.com is my website and that’s where you can reach me or learn a little bit more about emotions. And I have a book called Senses of the Soul, available where books are sold online, I guess. Not necessarily in the bookstore.
DONNA: Senses of the Soul.
GURU MEHER: Yep, and I am a therapist. I help people one on one. And also I train and I do workshops, and so, yeah! I’m really excited to have found my life‘s work to help the awakening to the power of emotions to be something everybody has access to.
DONNA: Wonderful, and based in Los Angeles!
GURU MEHER: Nice. City of the Angels. Plenty of humanity here to help out, if we can! Thank you so much!
DONNA: Thank you! Bye bye!
GURU MEHER: Bye!